We have recently come into possession of a grill at our house, and it has changed our eating habits pretty dramatically. Since we got it about three weeks ago, we have made nearly every dinner with it's aid. And the Hawaiian Grilled Pork Chops we made a few nights ago are one of our favorite grill recipes so far. Not to mention the leftovers resulted in a beautiful Kimchi Fried Rice (which I'll share below the chops recipe)! I love when one meal morphs into more...
So here's the story: At the outset of 2020, I had all kinds of grand plans to shower my sweet husband Joe with lovely plans for his 40th birthday. We were going to go to Savannah, GA for close to a week to wine and dine around the city. I was going to host the full gamut of his friends on a rented boat and offer a glut of food and booze to all who came to celebrate my wonderful spouse. And then 2020 actually happened.
A tornado hit our beautiful city, Nashville, TN. "Coronavirus" and "social distancing" became part of the common vernacular. I lost my job. Another devastating storm hit Nashville and over 100,000 people lost power for an extended period of time (us included). The ever-important Black Lives Matter protests garnered more support than ever before in illustrating America's persistent, ongoing racial inequalities after multiple unconscionable deaths of Black citizens at the hands of police. And, while I may not be proud of it, I've become more of a homebody than before the $#*!-storm of 2020 hit.
So all of the purchases (not including donations) I've made over quarantine have been dedicated to the aim of making our house the most comfortable, stocked and prepared it can be for whatever shocking new realities tomorrow brings. I knew exactly what my quarantine gift would be to Joe: a brand spankin' new grill. Because not only is it awesome and "manly," but also helps us keep our electrical bills down during the hot summer months and also gives us an avenue to cook our meals if the power goes out again.
Easy Hawaiian Pork Sliders
After a recent trip to Aldi* where we stocked up on a variety of meats and grill-able vegetables, I was looking for ways to marinate our pork chops to ensure a juicy result. I impulse grabbed some Hawaiian rolls on the trip and got to centering my focus around them. A friend in Business School introduced me to some crazy delicious, midwestern AF Ham and Cheese Sliders that got me thinking about pork and Hawaiian Roll sandwiches. Thank you, Shannon!
I knew I had some canned pineapple rings from a much earlier Costco run. I love grilled pineapple! So then I started thinking about doing a pineapple teriyaki style marinade with the juice from the canned pineapples. What else should I add? My usual teriyaki suspects made the cut: soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ghost pepper, ginger, garlic and onion.
After an accidental** 60 hour marinating time, the grilled pork chops were the tenderest, most flavorful boneless, skinless ANYTHING I've ever eaten. Joe's handling of them on the grill was masterful. While he was getting the meat and pineapple cooked, I took the marinade and the remaining pineapple juice and reduced it down to an almost jelly-like consistency.
I spread said jelly on the rolls with mayo, added the thinly sliced grilled pork chops and charred pineapple, topped with a few pieces of cilantro and pickled red onions and smashed it down into a mouth-sized slider. And to round out the meal, we assembled Aldi's Asian Chopped Salad Kit ($2.49!) with an avocado. It was SO GOOD, we even had the exact same meal for dinner the next night. We NEVER do that.
Kimchi Fried Rice with Leftover Pork
Then, on Saturday, it was Joe's actual birthday and we celebrated with Thai food at his parent's house. We had delicious red curry and treated ourselves to an upgrade of pineapple fried rice. The restaurant still gave us plain white rice, which is the traditional accompaniment for curry, so I started hatching a plan to use it. I HATE wasting food.
With the final remaining grilled pork chops, I made a killer Kimchi Fried Rice. It was pretty baller, y'all. Not only did I use up leftovers, but I transformed them into a completely different flavor profile. It ended up a spicy, umami, probiotic packed treat that we topped off with sunny side eggs. It was delightful. And I still didn't have to turn the oven on. Yay!
In any event, if y'all are looking for something a little different to grill up this week, give these a shot. And it might also yield you a whole different dinner like it did for us! Hope you enjoy.
Want some more dinner inspiration? Check these recipes out:
- Chicken Paillards
- Steak Chili
- Greek Burgers
- Santa Fe Chicken Sandwiches
Hawaiian Grilled Pork Chops Sliders
- 3 Boneless, Skinless Pork Chops
- 1 can Pineapple Rings in Pineapple Juice all juice reserved
- Remove pork from packaging and drain liquid. If suitable size and material for marinating, return to package. Otherwise, transfer to small glass/plastic dish with lid.With a sharp paring knife, stab pork like you're Tommy DeVito and the pork is Billy Batts in the trunk of Henry Hill's car. In other words, make lots and lots of cuts.Mix all marinade ingredients together. Dump over pork, wiggling the pork around to make sure the marinade is all around every piece. Cover and refrigerate 12-60 hours.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Brush grill with oil. Once heated, add pork chops to grill and cook 4-6 minutes per side (depending on thickness), until center reaches 145F. Save marinade.Grill pineapple rings until each side has good char marks from the grill.
- While your pork rests, reduce marinade with remaining pineapple juice. The sauce will appear split at first. Do not dismay. Continue cooking until at least syrupy, or preferably jammy.
- Split Hawaiian Rolls in half. Slather with mayonnaise, reduced marinade and sriracha to taste. Pile up thin slices of pork (roughly ¼ of a chop per slider). Top with cilantro and pickled red onions.Eat and repeat. You know you want to.
Kimchi Fried Rice
- 4 C Cooked White Rice preferably short grain
- 1 stick Butter divided
- ½ Yellow Onion diced finely
- 1 ½ - 2 C Kimchi chopped
- ¼ C Kimchi Juice or to taste
- 1 Boneless Pork Chop diced finely
- 1-2 tablespoon Soy Sauce or Tamari
- ½ - 1 tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil
- 1 tablespoon Tahini optional. I ran out of Sesame Oil and used this as a replacement for flavor and fat.
- 1-3 tablespoon Gochujang optional, depending on heat preference
- Melt 4 tablespoon butter in cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add onions and sautee until just beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Add kimchi and kimchi juice to skillet, cooking for about 3-4 minutes until kimchi begins to sweat. Add pork and cook until warmed through and juices are mostly evaporated.
- Add rice to skillet, breaking up the grains. Stir to coat, then continue cooking until all sauce is absorbed. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and Gochujang. Adjust seasoning as necessary - soy sauce for salt, sesame oil for toasted nutty flavor, kimchi juice for umami, gochujang for sweet heat.Continue to cook, stirring only occasionally, until parts of rice become browned and a little crispy.
- Assemble bowls, adding any toppings you prefer. We ate ours with a sunny side up egg, sriracha, nori furikake and sliced green onions. And then we did it all over again for breakfast with the leftovers. Because breakfast fried rice is the bee's knees.
*Y'all, my love affair with this company has only intensified after getting the grill. Not only is it 5 minutes from our house, but also seems to have the cheapest organic meat and produce around. That pack of 3 very thick boneless skinless chops was only $4. It's bonkers!! And staples like the generic brand of Hawaiian Rolls we used for our pork sandwiches are roughly HALF the cost of what you can find at larger retailers, even though they are JUST AS GOOD.
**I started working on COAGA stuff on a Tuesday morning at 8a, and before I knew it, it was 5:30p, much too late to be able to marinate the pork for an ample period of time before grilling that night. Then an impromptu grill-out happened Wednesday and we didn't have enough to go around. So we didn't get to try these puppies out till Thursday. But man. It was worth waiting for.